Scrapbook of the DeadI look forward to my Saturday nights scrapbooking with my friends. When I first moved to Cumberland Creek six years ago, it was hard to imagine that I’d even have any friends–but then Vera asked me to come to the crop. To say my life has changed completely might be exaggerating a bit. I’m still a freelance reporter, still managing with my two boys, husband, and house, but their friendship has certainly helped me to cope with the day-to-day.

You might look at some of the murders I’ve helped to investigate as exciting. But I’ve never looked at it that way. My reporting is a job and if I can help a family or a friend find peace through my work, that is satisfying. As a young reporter, I did find it exciting. The adrenaline rush was addicting. But a few things have happened to me that have changed me–mostly, I became a mother. Ben and Sam need me.

Now, we are getting ready to go back to school, which is a way different exercise than when I was a kid. We shopped for a few new clothes and maybe new lunch boxes. Very few of us carried book bags, let alone backpacks. Now, it’s all about the backpack, plus the school supplies. I was shocked to find that kids have to buy their own notebooks, paper, scissors, pens, pencils, and so on. The only thing the schools buy seems to be the books. It’s very expensive to send your kid to public schools these days.

Yesterday, I spent close to $300 on school supplies for my boys. And I have to say, it was a most unpleasant experience. Many other parents were stumbling down the aisles, right along with me, with these huge lists, checking off each item. A few nasty words were exchanged between parents who were also not having a good experience.

We took our school supplies and went home to organized them. My boys love this. Who needs toys, when you have school supplies? We spread out our notebooks, pens, binders, and so on out on the floor and made two piles–one for Ben and one for Sam. Then we organized it even further into two piles under each of their single piles. One pile for the items that go to school the night before school starts at the open house. Items like hand sanitizer, tissue, and so on go the night before and become a part of the classroom’s general supplies. (True!)

We make it a fun evening. After we accomplish all the sorting and organizing, we order a pizza and watch a movie. A sort of last fling of summer.

After my boys get to bed, I usually head to the computer to check e-mails or work. These days, I’ve been playing with writing fiction, which I never thought would happen. In the man time, I now have a few nonfiction books out about the murders I’ve covered and they are doing well enough that I can scale back on the freelancing and entertain notions of writing fiction. Who knows where that will go?

But that pretty much sums up my daily life at this time of the year. For me, it’s all about family, friends, work, all sprinkled with a little extra dreaming.

You can read more about Annie in Scrapbook Of The Dead, the 5th book in the “Cumberland Creek” mystery series, published by Kensington.

About Scrapbook Of The Dead (out Sept. 29):

Halloween means spooky scrapbooks for the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop, but what’s been happening around town is truly frightening. First a dead woman is found in the freezer at Pamela’s Pie Palace, and the next day a second woman is found murdered by the river. Reporter Annie Chamovitz learns the victims were sisters and is certain their deaths are linked. Most bizarre of all, both women were found clutching scrapbook pages.

As their Saturday night crop quickly becomes an opportunity to puzzle out the murders, the ladies begin to wonder if Pamela is hiding more than her secret recipes for delicious pies–or if the crimes are related to the startling discovery that there are gangs in Cumberland Creek. As All Hallows Eve approaches, the crafty croppers must cut and paste the clues to unmask a deadly killer.

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About the author
Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Cumberland Creek Mysteries: Scrapbook Of Secrets (nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012), Scrapped, Death Of An Irish Diva, and A Crafty Christmas, along with two e-novellas in the series (Scrappy Summer and Scrappily Ever After). She also is the author of a Kindle book Honey, I’m Sorry I Killed Your Aquasaurs (And Other Short Essays On The Parenting Life.) Check out her website at

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